Whitecaps Media: How did A Daily Passage Through the Psalms come about?

John Wayland, author: I had no real plans to publish the Psalms devotionals until my mom brought up the subject several times. She said her friends were continually asking her when I was going to publish them and so she kept nagging, I mean encouraging, me to send them to the publisher. With the sudden death this summer of my younger sister, Jo, I knew it would lift my mom’s spirits if she could read the devotions in book form.

Why did you pick the Psalms, after doing Mark?
I have used the Psalms in my personal prayer time for years. I have received tons of encouragement reading the real life feelings and prayers of godly men who asked hard questions of God. I knew there were a lot of people going through tough times and so I decided, after much prayer, to tackle the Psalms.

What do you love about the Psalms?
I love the raw honesty of those who wrote the Psalms. I love how many of the Psalms start off really dark and depressing, which shows the writers were honest about how life was going for them, and then would end with such hope, grace, love, and determination to remain faithful to God.

Did anything surprise you as you were writing these devotionals?
I was surprised to find that people could be so honest with God regarding their feelings about life. I was surprised to find that God could still hold a special place in the hearts of those who suffer. I hope that will be true in my life until the very end.

Are there any differences between this book and your first book on Mark?
The book of Mark covered every verse of every chapter while this one covers selected verses from each chapter. Because of that, the Psalms devotionals are a bit shorter, although since there are more of them than in Mark the book is longer-- the Mark book had 109 devotionals, this one has 150.

What do you hope people will come away with after reading this book?
I hope people will encounter the love and grace of God in the midst of their struggles. People come to my office with stories of betrayal, disappointment with God, anger with wayward spouses, and hurt over rebellious children. I can’t help but think how familiar their stories are after I have studied the Psalms. These folks will only find comfort and peace once they encounter God the way the psalmists did.

You dedicate this book to your mother. What can you tell us about that?
Wow! This is like when Barbara Walters tries to get the people she interviews to cry. Let me see if I can get through this. As I have mentioned before, my younger sister, Jo, was killed in a car wreck this past summer [2006]. Suffice it to say that my mom has suffered quite a bit because of that. I have watched her handle lots of tragedy in her life with tremendous faith. She reminds me of the psalmists and so I dedicated the book to her.

It's now been five years since you left Young Life to become a pastor. How are the jobs different?
Here you go ... trying to get me to cry again. No, really. The ministries are quite different in that I am now teaching believers how to live godly lives in such a way as to glorify God and win unbelievers to the Lord. With Young Life, I was not only reaching out to lost high school kids, I was training others to do so. With Young Life, I was impacting mostly kids. Being a pastor, I am impacting whole families.

What do you like best about being a pastor?
I love teaching the Bible each Sunday. I love getting to know families and love seeing how the Lord works in the life of each member of that family.

It's my understanding that some of the proceeds of this book are going to support a friend's ministry. What can you tell us about that?
Bob and Ann Livesay founded Northwest Bible Church in 1975. Their ministry focus changed in 2000 when they joined the staff of East West Ministries. They now travel all over the world to train pastors and their wives. I don’t know very many people who are having the kind of impact they are having in the far east. I want to support what they are doing so I am dedicating some of the proceeds to their work.

Can we expect other John Wayland or "A Daily Passage Through" books in the future?
I have pulled out a project I started on my first ministry sabbatical that I would like to finish some day. Who knows, maybe the Lord will allow me to bring that project to completion.